John Baron MP questions Rt Hon Tony Blair on Libya

December 14, 2015

MP believes key questions remain unanswered

As part of its inquiry into the Libyan intervention in 2011, members of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee today questioned Rt Hon Tony Blair on Libya and his relationship with Colonel Gadhafi. As Prime Minister, Mr Blair was instrumental in bringing the Libyan régime ‘in from the cold’, and struck a wide-ranging agreement to end the Libyan nuclear and chemical weapons programme and increase trade. Mr Blair made several visits to Libya after leaving office, and was telephoned by Colonel Gadhafi during the uprisings which led to the Western intervention.

John raised WPC Yvonne Fletcher, régime change, and the West’s lack of knowledge and post-intervention planning.

John said,

“I questioned whether there had been any understanding or agreement, however informal, that difficult issues such as justice for WPC Yvonne Fletcher and her relatives were side-lined for the greater prize of better relations and commercial interests. The Metropolitan Police did not go to Libya in pursuit of the case after Tony Blair’s intervention. I was not convinced by his answer that this was simply a matter for the Police.”

“The reasons some of us voted against military intervention included a belief that this was more about régime change than protecting citizens and that there was a lack of post-intervention planning. Nothing Tony Blair said persuaded me otherwise. His unwillingness to answer my question whether the West exceeded its remit under UNSC Resolution 1973, which did not authorise régime change, was interesting.”

“There are very few easy decisions left in foreign policy – just a series of hard choices. Blair did not disagree that a lack of post-conflict security, which intervening forces should have readied themselves to provide, meant that post-conflict reconstruction and political transition was impossible. These are lessons I hope Governments bear in mind when contemplating future interventions.”

Word Count: 313
Date: 11th December 2015

Notes to Editors:

• John was one of 16 MPs to vote against intervention in Libya in 2011, and was the only Conservative to do so.
• The full transcript of the session with Tony Blair will shortly be published on the Foreign Affairs Committee’s website.

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